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RESPONSE TO TERROR | IN BRIEF / CENTRAL ASIA

French Fighters To Use Tajik Base, Official Says

November 25, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

Tajikistan is expected to allow the deployment of French fighter planes at a Tajik base for operations in neighboring Afghanistan, France's cooperation minister said.

The French aircraft--six fighter jets and two refueling planes--and about 200 crew and support personnel would join "operations against [Osama] bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network," Charles Josselin told reporters in Tehran.

"The Tajik president [Emamali Rakhmonov] has agreed in principle to the deployment," said Josselin, who visited Tajikistan on Friday.

France said Wednesday that it would send a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the Indian Ocean next month to boost its role in the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan. Officials said one mission for the carrier group would be to help prevent the escape of Bin Laden, Washington's prime suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, and other leaders of his terrorist network.

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